Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Carrie Adams' view on Western Culture and Scientific Method

Western Culture and Scientific Method
Carrie Adams
PHS100 – Environmental Studies
David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
August 27, 2010

Western Culture and Scientific Method
The scientific method is “the observation-based hypothesis-testing approach that scientists use to learn how the world works” (Withgott & Bennan, 2008, p.12). This technique involves making observations of different phenomenon, and asking questions about this phenomenon. Once these observation and questions are developed the scientific method is continued by developing a hypothesis. A hypothesis is “a statement that attempts to explain a phenomenon or answer a scientific question” (p.12). Next the outcome of the hypothesis is predicted and tested. The hypothesis is usually tested by doing an experiment. Once the experiment is complete the analysis and interpretation of the results begins. By analyzing the data that has been collected scientists can determine whether their findings are reliable or flawed. This process is used for almost everything; whether we are aware of it or not. Scientists use the scientific method to test all their theories and inventions. Even everyday people use the scientific method to test ideas and find answers to questions and problems.
Before the scientific method was created people used to guess about everything; they could not prove or disprove any of their theories. For example:
In the late16th century, it was generally believed that an object would fall at a speed proportional to its weight. In other words, the bigger they come, the faster they fall. The Italian scientist Galileo thought differently about this idea. Galileo believed that the forces acting on a falling object were independent of the object's weight. In 1590, Galileo planned out an experiment. He climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropped several different sized weights off the top of the Tower. A colleague watched the weights as they fell and recorded his observations… Galileo found that two objects with different weights fall at exactly the same speed. This experiment disproved the previously held belief that objects with different weights fall at different rates. (Carpi, 1998)
Galileo not only used the scientific method to test his hypothesis, that states “forces acting on a falling object were independent of the object's weight” (Carpi, 1998), but he also used it to prove that the previous theory was completely wrong.
When the scientific method was introduced, the western culture flourished. Western culture is the modern culture; the culture that is more technologically advanced than the rest of the world. Thanks to the scientific method western culture has been able to test millions of theories and expand upon many different ideas and inventions. Computers, cell phones, bottled water, x-rays, electricity, and indoor plumbing – are just some of the modern amenities that were developed, tested, and perfected using the scientific method. Without the scientific method the western culture may not even exist as it does today.
The scientific method is an essential part of western culture’s history and present. Without the scientific method most modern amenities may not exists because there would be no way to test any hypothesis about these products.

Carpi, A. (1998). The Scientific Method. Courses Pages. Retrieved August 31, 2010, from http://web.jjay.cuny.edu/~acarpi/NSC/1-scimethod.htm
Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rd
ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We, as humans, are selfish by Joshua Rockwell

Joshua Rockwell
PHS 100
David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
August 8, 2010

We, as humans, are selfish. Our world has been taught to think mainly about the person who is reading this essay—you. Yes, I am talking to you, me, and all of my neighbors. We have been taught that you don’t have to wait two days to receive mail, you can get it instantly; we don’t have to go to the movies anymore, we don’t even have to go to the movie rental store—we can order our movie right from our television; and grocery shopping, you don’t have to step a foot out of your door to get the food you need for the week. Yes, these are all conveniences, but we have taken this concept too far. We expect these things; to make it worse, we expect the next company do perform better than the last.
What we really need to start thinking about is our grandchildren and great-grandchildren; if we consume everything now, what will they have; what energy will they have if other sources of energy are not utilized and developed; what knowledge can be passed on to them so they can make wise decisions for their ancestors.
In the U.S. alone, we are consuming food, energy, and other resources at an alarming rate. Food is always a big topic. Because of technology, we can produce more food for our society, but we also consume more (Withgott & Brennan, 2008, p. 265). We see more fast food restaurants, coffee chains, and mega-grocery stores along our streets, signaling that we consume what they produce. I am drinking a Mountain Dew while I write this. Fuels and electricity power the many necessities and toys that we have—gasoline for cars, boats, riding lawnmowers, RC toys, televisions, computers, air conditioners, swimming pools, hot tubs, and more; which we need or must have. Resources like water and trees are used to supply what we want. By making a conscious effort to consume less, we can positively affect not only ourselves by being less selfish, but the future, what will be available to them, and the quality of the resources.
Regardless of whether or not today’s energy resources are being depleted, it is undeniable that they are not the cleanest or most beneficial to use as fuel or energy. Therefore, it is highly important that other energy sources be developed and utilized. As the globe focuses on paperless communications and documents, electricity will still be in high demand; hydropower, nuclear, wind, solar, and others yet to be discovered will hopefully be developed and be more beneficial and sustainable in the future. Cars and planes will probably not go way, so a better source of energy that is cleaner burning and recyclable will benefit our grandchildren and the environment. A problem with cars is not only the fuel but the batteries—especially with the hybrid cars. The batteries are much bigger and waste disposal of them could be a disastrous event for our soil.
What if there was something better than electricity? What if cars and planes were just a stepping stool to a new transportation of transportation? Or will the future generations see the benefits of going backwards to walking and riding a bike? Communities could actually be communities; grocery stores could be closer to the people that shopped them; exercise would be a daily thing for everyone; being a part of a community would mean that selfishness and the disease of instantaneousness would be hard to come by. We would consume less all together.
Could this knowledge of experience, trial and error, and sustainability be useful to our grandchildren? Yes. If we would admit that our selfishness has driven us in the wrong direction and taken what we have learned about the world that God created with his voice, it could be a part of their daily routine to think about the generations ahead of them, causing the to use less, think of ways to be more sustainable, and live simply at the same time.
This process of thinking about the future starts with me. I need to think about my family, my grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and my neighbor’s great-grandchildren. How will I integrate what I have learned at home and my workplace? I first of all want to teach all by demonstration how to be selfless; having less of a desire of things and more of a desire of community; and the joy of being self sustaining with a few things at home can be beneficial for more than a household. By utilizing what I have learned from this class and my degree, I will have an impact on other employees and will encourage them to find ways to not be wasteful, both while at work and at home. It has allowed me to see and better understand what an impact a little decision can have on the environment—so I had better think had on what the wise choice will be. Because it has a small chance of directly affecting me, but a greater chance on my children and beyond—and that is selfless.

Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment: The science behind the stories (3rd ed.) Pearson Education Inc. San Francisco, CA 94111.

Future Development and Sustainability by James Parish

James Parish
PHS 100
David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
August 7, 2010

Future Development and Sustainability
The big question in the world right now is how we are going to have enough for future generations to survive. Is there going to be enough food to eat, fuel to travel, and jobs to make money? Then there is the big question will the Earth have humans on it in the future, or will we destroy it. Alternative and sustainable measures need to be taken.
Energy and the atmosphere are a hot topic these days. The carbon dioxide that we are putting into the air is on an uprise. Coal and fossil fuel cause the most to be released into the atmosphere. Coal is used for generating electricity and heat, fossil fuels run cars and machinery. Not only do our day to day lives use these fuels but it takes fuel to get these.
How do we fight the use of these? There are many ways; all you have to do is look. They are making great strides in solar power which uses nothing but the sun to heat your house or run your electricity. You can also use wind power, hydro power, or hydrogen fuel cells. Each of these has their advantages and disadvantages. The biggest with all is the initial cost to set them up and what the economic payback on each. However a better short term solution is very simple. Use less fuel. This can be done by turning lights off, using natural gas to cook instead of electric, drive more effectively and only when you need to, use public transportation. Be carefull what you use when you cook, plastics leave a very high carbon footprint. Beef also takes a large carbon footprint to produce.
Growing your own garden can help in the fight against carbon dioxide emissions. I have changed the design of my own yard to accommodate room to plant a larger garden next season. This will allow my family to grow many of the salad items that we have during the summer. We also barbeque more wich propane is not the greenest but is better than the stove. Growing your own vegetables is a big savings on carbon dioxide emissions. Remember, these are available year round so they must be shipped or flown in for the customer. One of the big hitters in greenhouse gases is livestock. Livestock is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the entire global transport network. (Make Health History, 2008). It accounts for 18% of the greenhouse emmissions. (Make)
Let’s look at power for your household, and how we can save. There is solar, wind, and fuel cells. Each is expensive to get into and has its downfalls. Solar is great but has a return on investment is anywhere from 10-20 years. Solar also needs the sun, what if you live in the New York or the Pacific Northwest, where sun is limited during the harsh winters. Wind has the same problem with nature needing to help. If there is no wind for many weeks what happens to you. Fuel cells seem to be the answer. All it takes is natural gas and you have heat and electricity. The concern with this technology is that it is unproven and still has a long way to go.
So what are the options? Use less, turn lights off, check you thermostats, and use your power and heat smart. There are many ways to reduce your usage, turn down your hot water tank, water lawns less, do full loads of laundry, and shower faster. These are easy to do and will help.
Driving is also easier than people think. Carpool, take the bus, or drive an economy car. Bundle your trips together so there is less time on the road. Beaware, that there are other options to get to work or where you are going.
In my currect position, Logistics Manager for a fuel cell company, I not only am working for a company trying to make energy more available and cleaner; but I can control the transportation and how much a product is on the road. This gives me the advantage of affecting the carbon footprint of the company. With my degree I hope to become a Director of Supply Chain. In doing this I would have more control over how product is brought into the company for production. The better we can combine shipments and purchase from local suppliers; the smaller the footprint will be.

Cubby, Ben (August, 2009). Ambitious targets in greenhouse proposal, The Sysdney Morning Hearld, Retrieved on August 8, 2010 from, http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/ambitious-targets-in-greenhouse-proposal-20100808-11qaq.html

Make Health History (April, 2008). Carbon footprints----what makes the biggest difference? Retrieved on August 7, 2010 from, http://makewealthhistory.org/2008/04/08/carbon-footprints-what-makes-the-biggest-difference/

The Next Step by Tim Morgan

Environmental Science; the Next Step
Tim Morgan
PHS 100
David Terrell
Warner Pacific ADP
August 8, 2010

By addressing the changes needed in our society to confront future development and sustainability, we may be able to develop a plan of action; including a personal reflection on ways I will personally be using the information from this class in the future, and how it will affect my role as a steward of the environment.

Is it possible to have to truly “Green” product? Everything from new construction, to all natural hemp products has some type of impact on the environment. It is not possible to be no-impact; even products that claim to be low impact may not be as low as they claim.
The first thing that our society needs to change is the way in which we measure our impact on the environment. When consumers purchase products that are labeled as green, they think that they are helping to save our environment. This causes a false sense of security when average people try to do their part. A product that is labeled “Green” may be biodegradable, or made of all natural fibers. However, the process by which it was made still has some form of impact on the environment. In forms of waste, harvesting techniques, and manufacturing all products have some kind of negative effect on our environment.
The issue of measurement it paramount when evaluating how to respond to the growing concern for the world around us. Perhaps the world governments could agree on some standard form of measurement, although this is highly unlikely. It is more likely that local authorities will take their own view of what our impact should be, what it is, and if we need to make improvements. In other words, the standardization of measurement will not be solved world wide.
As we look to the future some of the most practical things we can do are already in place. Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling have been worked into us as Oregonians for a full generation now. These still remain the most viable way of lowering the impact we have as individuals on the environment. Using less, reusing what you have, and being responsible with how you dispose of waste have to play into every decision that we make as consumers. In recent history and even now there are movements to regulate how individuals achieve this level of responsibility. This choice of stewardship can not be mandated, it must be chosen. Regulations should be honed and refined to focus on the most egregious offenders in the corporate world. This would dramatically reduce our impact into our environment, and in a much faster way.
In the Portland Oregon area, the current push is to eliminate even outlaw plastic grocery bag, and charge a fee for paper. What is not being addressed is what these two changes could do for Oregonians. The first issue, the plastic bag, has not been full addressed by those presenting their wish to eliminate them fully. These bags are in fact, a petroleum product. They are derived from oil. What is not being explained is that the oil used in the byproduct of other processes. In short, by eliminating the production of these plastic bags the wasted oil will no longer have a use and will have to be disposed of in some other way.
No one is in love with plastic bags, they are not a very “green product”, but what else can we do with the byproduct? It is unclear what the ban could do. At the same time, charging for paper bags will only inflate the cost of groceries for most families. In our household we own a small army of reusable cloth bags for groceries. However, most shopping trips we forget to use them, we have spent the money and energy to purchase these cloth bags, and would potentially have to make multiple trips in our car to collect the forgotten bags…increasing our effect on the environment.
This one ban/regulation could back fire; it could also be extremely successful. The fact remains that this issue continues to be politically driven and not scientifically. This causes peoples emotions to be involved, not their brains.
On a personal note, as I continue my journey toward being a teacher, I have realized that this issue is far more complicated than I had originally thought. It will be my job to arm my students with the information that they need to make education choices in their lives. This process of educating to arm will allow me to help grow a population of good stewards. As a steward and Christian myself, I have held the belief that it is our responsibility to care for nature. In reality the only thing that we should hold more dearly is the stewardship and care of our fellow man including the body of Christ, his church.
In some cases, as a Christian, I may choose to help my fellow man at the cost of the environment. Only after measuring all of the potential outcomes of all choices can this agonizing decision be made.

Brennan, Scott & Withgott, Jay. Environment: The Science Behind the Stories Third Ed.

Looking to the Future by Barbara Laney

Barbara Laney
PHS 100
David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
Aug 9, 2010

Looking to the Future of our Planet
Our society continues to develop at a rapid pace. We are highly industrialized and moving to an information-based economy. The recent past and present have taken a toll on our natural resources. In the future we may need to make some choices and some personal and cultural changes. The questions we need to consider are:
· What resources are limited?
· What resources can be renewed with minimal impact on the plant and animal life?
· What resources are non-renewable?
· How much longer will our resources last if we continue using them at our current rate?
· How much waste is generated by all our resource consumption?
· In what ways can we supplement or change our current consumption to become more sustainable?
With these assessments, we will find answers that may be difficult to accept. It is difficult to put large changes into place. I would like to suggest three changes that are doable for individuals and communities. By starting with small things, we can learn how much impact these changes make when done by each individual. The changes are 1. Reduce water usage, 2. Use less fossil fuel, and 3. Recycle.
Water is the life-giving fluid that is needed for all life. It is a basic component of survival. It comes to us in rain and rivers and snow melt. It is needed for growing crops, drinking, washing clothes and vehicles, bathing, plumbing, watering grass and greenery, among other things. Clean water is in great demand, and there is not enough to supply all the needs while preserving the health of the rivers in our nation. We have come to expect water to flow from our taps without considering the impact it makes. Northern California struggled with a severe water shortage in 1975. The rains had not been sufficient to fill the reservoirs for several years. That is the year I learned about conserving water in household use. We did not flush toilets unless there was solid waste. We did not water our lawns. We covered our pool so it would not lose water to evaporation, and only filled it enough so the filter remained in good repair. We did not wash our car. We did not run water needlessly for anything, from brushing teeth to waiting for cooking water to warm up. We took short showers and turned the water off while we soaped ourselves, waiting to rinse all at once. That was the first time I ever considered that there could ever be a limit to our water supply. The changes that the entire area made helped us to have enough water to last till the rain came in the fall. Some of these changes were more drastic than we need to make, but these can serve as a template for small things that can make a big difference when entire communities work together. With less demand for water there should be more surface water for healthy ecosystems. There should also be less need to draw from the groundwater supply, which takes years or decades to fill (Withgott & Brennan, 2008, p. 425).
Our use of fossil fuel can be cut back with reasonable effort. In October of 1973, an oil embargo was called by the OPEC nations toward the U.S. During that time there was a limited gasoline supply. Cars would line up around the block for gas in the morning. The gas stations would be out of gas by mid afternoon. This served as a “wake-up call” that alerted the American people to our increasing dependence on foreign oil (Hakes, 2008). During this time, my dad started taking the bus every day and walking to and from the bus stop. We walked or rode our bikes to most of our destinations. We lived near a grocery store. We would all walk to the store together and carry our groceries home. We purchased a small economy car to use for short trips. Our country is now very aware of our dependence on foreign oil. We are also more aware that oil is a limited resource. We are looking into alternative energy sources. None of the alternatives have proven to be economically feasible thus far. There is still much we can do to reduce our usage. As individuals we can use public transportation when possible and walk or ride a bike for some trips. As a nation we can supplement our gasoline with ethanol, which is renewable. Although this is not enough, it is certainly a step in the right direction.
Recycling is a way to reduce much or our waste and can minimize our need for new resources. The state of Oregon is exemplary in its model for recycling. Paper, glass, plastic, and cans are all taken. Some workplaces and stores provide disposal of used batteries. They must be disposed of carefully so the chemicals inside don’t leach into the water supply. Computers can be taken to a non-profit place in Portland and they will use what is useful and dispose of anything else in an environmentally sound way.
These are all things that I am going to do to be a better steward of the earth. One thing that I have found difficult is using public transportation. Our MAX system has many problems. I would like to ride to work, but I have found that parking at the station is insufficient and the trains go too slow, thus making the travel time significantly longer than a car trip. I am going to write to metro and explain my frustration. Perhaps they can address the problems and make traveling on MAX equally efficient to driving a car. I am going to continue to recycle and perhaps be more careful about including everything that is accepted. I will also dispose of batteries where I work in the battery disposal bin.
My college major is medical management. Medicine relies on plentiful resources and generates a lot of waste, some of which is toxic waste. As I look to my future I hope to address these concerns in my future work by:
· Always recycling paper
· Providing a place where unused, expired medications can be brought for disposal.
· Utilizing the services of a waste disposal company that will manage hazardous waste and sharps and other healthcare-related waste responsibly (Bio Clean Inc, 2010)
· Encouraging staff and patients, if circumstances allow, to use public transportation by providing shuttle service from transit stations and having bus stops near facilities.
· Using temperature controls so indoor air is not too cold in the summer or too warm in the winter, and taking steps to reduce electrical use in simple and reasonable ways
These are all things I can do. They are not difficult to incorporate into my life. As a responsible person with an attitude of stewardship of our resources I can make a small difference. This class has opened my eyes to some problems that I was unaware of previously. The challenge of use of oil, toxic waterways, soil, the impact of our environmental practices on the poor, and the growing problem of greenhouse gases are all problems that have come to my attention. I can make some small changes and encourage or educate my family and friends. This is a good way to start.

Bio Clean Inc. (2010, Jan 15). Retrieved Aug 8, 2010, from Bio-Clean: http://www.biocleaninc.org/
Hakes, J. (2008, October 6). 35 Years After the Arab Oil Embargo. Retrieved August 8, 2010, from Journal of Energy Security: http://www.ensec.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=155:35yearsafterthearaboilembargo&catid=83:middle-east&Itemid=324
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2008). Environment; The science Behind the Stories. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Julieanna's view of the future

Julieanna Finegan
Professor David Terrell
PHS 100

I’ve chosen to write my final paper in this course on my industry and what it is doing to make a difference to the environment and the trend with “green” burials.
The green burial movement is still somewhat small, but the interest is steadily growing in environmentally concerned people who are opting to return their body to the elements; nature.
A common theme of a natural or green (also known as ecoburial) burial is using a biodegradable casket or shroud. No use of toxic chemicals; embalming fluids, concrete vaults or liners, no air pollution or energy waste from cremation.
Crematories built within the past 10 years are very efficient and have almost no air pollution, but they do rely on fossil fuels to generate fire and they still have some emissions. Older retorts have been replaced by double burners which burn off many pollutants; but the cremation process releases dioxin, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Cremation also requires a container, therefore choosing simple unlined casket without chipboard and plastics can further help reduce pollution.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, crematories release more than 200 pounds of mercury each year, or less than 1 percent of the total mercury emissions in the U.S. (mostly from dental fillings.)
Typically, natural burial can be as affordable as cremation. Families do not have to incur the cost of a casket, embalming, or burial vaults or liners and green burials do not contribute pollutants to the atmosphere.

In my homeland, England, green burial has taken off. The Association of Natural Burial Grounds was created there in 1994, and there are close to 200 green-burial grounds open or planned. Industry experts say it's starting to catch on in the U.S., where green cemeteries hosting natural burials have sprouted up in California, Florida, New York, South Carolina and Texas and here in Oregon.
I think in the few years to come, we’ll be seeing even more of a trend toward natural burial. I’m more frequently asked about it, every month, when I meet with families to discuss their choice for disposition.